Kingfisher

Article

January 24, 2022

The Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is an average bird of the 16.5 cm large family of the Kingfisher (Alcedinidae). It is very brightly colored with an orange base and a blue back, wings and crown. A distinctive feature is also its remarkably long pointed beak. Due to its beautiful color, it is called the Flying Gem. It occurs in slow-flowing clear waters in large areas of Europe, Asia and North Africa. In Central Europe, it is the only representative of its family. The kingfisher is a solitary and strictly territorial bird for most of the year. It feeds mainly on smaller fish, which fish underwater by underwater attacks, but to a small extent, aquatic insects and amphibians also appear in its diet. It nests in burrows, which it digs itself in the steep banks of the water, while in one clutch there are 5-7 light eggs.

Description

The kingfisher is only slightly larger than a sparrow. It grows 16–17 cm, measures 24–26 cm in the wingspan and weighs between 40–45 g. It has a bulging body, short tail and limbs, wide wings and a straight pointed beak approximately 4 cm long. It is distinctive for its radiant coloration, which varies slightly depending on the individual subspecies (see Taxonomy). The Central European subspecies, A. a. Ispida, has the outer part of the wings, back, tail and almost the entire head blue, the chest and limbs are bright orange, the beak dark, the spot below it and the sides of the neck is then colored white. Both sexes do not differ significantly in color, but females, unlike males, have a red root of the lower jaw. Young birds are generally more monotonous and their plumage has a greener hue. In North Africa, Europe and most of Asia, it is a completely unmistakable species, but in its southeastern part it can be relatively easily confused with more than 6 other species of kingfishers, especially the blue-backed kingfisher (Alcedo meninting). Its flight is fast and direct (it can reach speeds higher than 45 km / h) and can be relatively easily determined thanks to its bright blue colored skeleton.

Voice speech

It often and noticeably sounds, most often a short, sharp and often repeated one when excited.

Extensions

Kingfishers occur almost throughout Europe, with the exception of Iceland, the northern tip of the British Isles and Scandinavia. It also extends considerably over a large area of ​​Asia, especially in its western, eastern, southern and south-eastern parts. It also inhabits North Africa in isolation. Its global expansion area covers an area of ​​approximately 24,900,000 km2. The northern populations are mostly migratory, with birds from the southern populations remaining in their nests throughout the year. Migratory individuals winter mainly in Central Europe and the Mediterranean, and some migrate as far as the distant African continent. Asian birds then winter, especially in Southeast Asia. It migrates mainly at night and often over long distances, for example, Siberian birds have to cover more than 3,000 km a year.

Number

In recent years, its population of approximately 600,000 pairs has not seen a decrease of more than 30% and is therefore listed in the Red List as a little affected species. The European population then numbers 67,000 - 135,000 pairs. However, its number usually varies from year to year, especially depending on the temperatures in winter. A typical example is Belgium, where only eight pairs were recorded after a winter with very low temperatures, its number in the country increased to 45 pairs in five years, but only 25 pairs survived the unfavorable winter the following year. However, n is a serious threat to him

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